Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Bowl Conspiracy Theories Thwarted? But What Will the Future Bring?

Nevada beating Boise State was a BIG deal for the avid and casual football fan alike. For the avid fan, it meant that we wouldn't suffer through a night of Boise State potentially playing in a BCS bowl against a, as President Gee from tOSU stated, "Worthy" opponent that paid it's dues in a major Automatic Qualifying (AQ) conference. Boise State beating Oklahoma was fun and everything, but do we really want to see the "blue field" team in a BCS game every year? I know I don't. But that's the fan in me talking.

However, something else really big happened when Nevada beat Boise State.

Nevada cost Boise about $5M in Bowl revenue. And they cost themselves about a $1M share if Boise State would have in fact made a BCS game.

Now, I'm not saying that in the future teams will lay down for other teams in the event that their rival has a chance at the "big time" and everyone gets a nice slice from that game. But it certainly is enough to make you go, "Hmmmm" if there's a questionable call or if someone makes a totally absurd mistake late in a game. The question is, what would you do for $1M? Especially if your Athletic Department was broke or needed the funds? When there's discussions of boosters paying $180,000 to Cam Newton, can game fixing and "preserving the perfect record" strategy for conferences be far behind? Can we at least have the discussion?

The toothless, powerless NCAA could step in here, but to what end? They have absolutely no control over the BCS. The BCS is the group that oversees all of this and decides what payouts and who gets invited to the games. More or less. Which is why we'll never have a play-off. The AQ conferences not only won't allow it, but they in essence control the purse strings.

When you go back to the days before the BCS, it was the Rose, Sugar, Orange and Fiesta. Those Bowls took the champions from what we call the AQ conferences and could demand the highest revenue and therefore afford to pay the highest payouts. The integrity of those 4 bowls is what in essence makes the BCS work. That and the fact that everyone in the AQ world now makes more from the National Title game as well and they figured out a way to make that work.

However, when you start getting "upstarts" in the mix, well, the revenues aren't what they used to be. The TCU vs. Boise State Fiesta bowl, depending on what you read and who you believe, was proof of that. Yes, attendance for the actual game was great. But it was the lowest rated BCS game of all the BCS games in 2009. There in lies the problem. And that's what the has the Big 4 Bowls the most terrified when it comes to the BCS rules.

While the revenue itself from the Fiesta wasn't enough to kill it, don't be surprised if the BCS takes a step backwards after this year's Rose Bowl Matchup.

TCU? Really?

If people tune out for the Granddaddy of the all because of the match-up, well, you can bet that the BCS will change it's tune about how the "top 4 in the final poll" make a BCS game. The Rose would have pitted a perfect "National Championship" game this year with undefeated #1 Oregon and a 1 loss #5 Wisconsin. #2 Auburn would have been up against #4 OSU or #5 Stanford in the Sugar. The Orange would have had UConn and Va Tech and the Fiesta would have had Oklahoma and tOSU/Stanford team that didn't make the Sugar.

Folks, these all would have been extremely satisfying match-ups for the TV Viewer (Okay, I'm making that up with respect to the Big East in the Orange). But never the less, it would have left the possibly of a split National title between Auburn and Oregon.

And TCU isn't anywhere in the mix.

And wouldn't that be a nice "Plus 1" game matchup on January 10th? Which is EXACTLY what we have now without TCU in the mix in the Rose Bowl (or Boise State, had it come to that?)

So, if I start seeing MWC or WAC teams going undefeated time and time again in an effort to get into the Big Games, well, you can bet I'll start my only little conspiracy circle that questions everything BCS. But maybe the Big Games figure out a way to not let it come to that.

No comments: